Otto Dix

In this drawing, Dix portrays himself as a modern dandy in the middle of a bustling nightclub or brothel. His likeness is elegant and self-confident, with his brow furrowed and arms akimbo. A fashionably dressed couple dances behind him at left; at right, a jazz musician plays at a drum set. The complex image depicts the thrills and temptations of metropolitan life in the Weimar Republic shortly after World War I. The work’s title announces Dix’s departure from conventional aesthetic ideals, positioning his personal vision of beauty somewhere between the grotesque and the classical. The drawing served as a preparatory study for a large-scale oil painting now in the collection of the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal, Germany.

Otto Dix
German, 1891–1969
To Beauty, ca. 1922
Graphite pencil
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, INV. NO. C 1965-8